Rare space event: catch Venus and Jupiter crossing tonight

Throughout the month of June, Venus and Jupiter have been moving closer and closer to one another. Or at least they've been appearing to move closer to one another. They've been moving in directions that'll eventually have them within one degrees of one another in our night sky, making it appear as those they're very nearly aligned with one another. Starting at the beginning of June at around 21 degrees from one another, these two planets will reach 0.33 degrees, or 20 arc minutes from one another.

According to Joe Rao of Space.com, tonight we'll see the final approach. You'll want to watch the west-southwestern sky right after sunset tonight. To the naked eye, these two planets will appear as bright balls of light.

The image you see above comes from photographer Jeff Berkes and depicts Jupiter near Venus in the year 2012.

Later this year – August 12th, that is – you'll want to watch the night sky for the Perseid Meteor shower. This is the most visible meteor shower of the year, and this year's won't be out shown by the moon as it sometimes is.

On the 26th of October you'll once again be able to see Venus and Jupiter move within degrees of one another.

This double-planet conjunction is rare if you consider it only generally happens once every 13 months. Occasionally it'll happen twice a year – as it does this year. Again according to Rao, once in a while a triple conjunction between these two planets will occur. That's three times the super-closeness in our night sky in a year.

Over the next 100 years, says Rao, Venus and Jupiter will be coming within 20 arc minutes of one another 26 times. At one point in November of 2065, the two will appear to cross over.

"Too bad," said Rao, "that the two planets will be only 8 degrees from the sun when this exceedingly rare event takes place, robbing us of an amazing visual spectacle."